Friday, October 18, 2013

Corruption: Detroit - Former mayor sentenced to 28 years in racketeering, bribery conspiracy.

U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Michigan

Former Detroit Mayor Kwame M. Kilpatrick, 43; contractor Bobby Ferguson, 44; and Bernard Kilpatrick, 72, have all been sentenced for their roles in the wide-ranging Detroit public corruption scandal, announced United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade.

McQuade was joined in the announcement by John Robert Shoup, Acting Special Agent In Charge of the Detroit Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Randall Ashe, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Criminal Investigation Division; Richard Weber, Chief of IRS-Criminal Investigation; and Barry McLaughlin, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-Office of Inspector General.

Kwame Kilpatrick was sentenced to 28 years in federal prison for using his position as mayor of Detroit and Michigan State House Representative to execute a wide-ranging racketeering conspiracy involving extortion, bribery, and fraud.

Bobby Ferguson was sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for being the catalyst at the center of an extortion scheme that netted him millions of dollars in city contracts.

Bernard Kilpatrick was sentenced to 15 months on a charge of subscribing false tax returns. The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision on the racketeering conspiracy charge.

United States Attorney Barbara L. McQuade stated, “This case is not so much about punishing for the past as it about shaping the future. These sentences will deter other officials from stealing from the people and will attract honest public servants to office.”

In March, Kwame Kilpatrick was convicted by a jury of 24 counts of extortion, mail fraud, tax violations, and racketeering. The jury deliberated for about 14 days before returning the verdicts, concluding a five-month long trial before United States District Judge Nancy G. Edmunds.

The evidence presented at trial established that Kwame Kilpatrick and contractor Bobby Ferguson participated in a racketeering conspiracy to financially enrich themselves, their associates, and their families by using the power and authority of Kwame Kilpatrick's position as mayor of Detroit, as well as his position as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives, to commit extortion, bribery, and fraud, and to defraud donors to nonprofit entities under the control of Kwame Kilpatrick and his associates, including the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, Kilpatrick for Mayor, and the Kilpatrick Inaugural Committee.

At the heart of the conspiracy was a scheme to use the power and authority of Kwame Kilpatrick's office as mayor of Detroit to extort municipal contractors by coercing them to include Ferguson in public contracts and to rig the awarding of public contracts to ensure that Ferguson obtained a portion of the revenue from those contracts. Ferguson obtained at least $73 million in revenues from municipal contracts through this scheme, a portion of which he shared with his co-conspirators.

Evidence showed that during Kwame Kilpatrick's tenure as a representative of the Michigan House and as the mayor of Detroit, Kwame Kilpatrick and Bobby Ferguson obtained more than half-a-million dollars from the state of Michigan and donors to non-profit entities they controlled, including the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, Kilpatrick for Mayor, and the Kilpatrick Inaugural Committee, under the false pretense that the money would be used to better the community or for campaign expenses when, in reality, the money was used for personal or other impermissible expenses, including vacations to luxury resorts, spa treatments, yoga lessons, and golf clubs.

Further evidence showed that during Kwame Kilpatrick's tenure as mayor, he solicited and accepted payments and property valued at over $1 million from persons seeking business with the city or its General Retirement System or police and fire pension funds.

Evidence was also presented that in return for the proceeds from the public contracts Ferguson received, Ferguson kicked back significant sums of cash, items of value, or other benefits to Kwame Kilpatrick. Further evidence was presented that during his tenure as mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick used more than $840,000 cash, derived from the conspiracy, to make deposits into his bank accounts, pay his credit card bills, purchase cashier's checks and clothing, and to repay loans.

As a result of the lengthy and wide-ranging investigation into corruption in the city of Detroit, the government has obtained convictions from 32 other individuals.

The investigation of this case was conducted by agents of the FBI, EPA-CID, and IRS-CID. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Mark Chutkow, R. Michael Bullotta, Jennifer Blackwell, and Eric Doeh.

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